Nordic Tug 37
By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
Perhaps it's because, as children, many of us had Hardie Gramatky's classic children's story Little Toot read to us by our parents and grandparents, that so many boaters are a little bit enamored with tug boats. If you're such a person who appreciates the workmanlike, stout appearance of this genre, Nordic Tug of Burlington, Washington, has the boat for you.
Designed by the late Lynn Senour, the Nordic Tug 37 was introduced in 1998 and remains in production today. She is a tug boat in style only and, from a performance standpoint, falls into a category with the somewhat oxymoronic name "fast trawler yacht." Because the swim platform is integral and actually part of the hull, the overall length is 39' 2" and 41' 3" with optional anchor pulpit, while the on-deck length is 37' 4". Beam is 12' 11" and although light ship displacement is only 22,600 lbs, her draft is 4' 4" owing to the depth of the full keel which protects the prop and rudder.
The Nordic Tug 37 is solidly built to withstand the rigors of extended coastal cruising and heavy use. Just a few of the features that demonstrate Nordic Tug's commitment to quality include the use of a Vinylester exterior laminate to prevent osmotic blistering, a 1- thick keel laminate that is capable of withstanding the inevitable bump on the bottom, pipe-lined limber holes in stringers, frames and bulkheads to prevent water intrusion and a deck-to-hull joint that is sealed, bolted and then fiberglassed together.
The most notable feature of the deck arrangement is that, unlike many trawler-styled yachts in this size range, she has no deck along the cabin sides of the main saloon. The arrangement allows the full width of the hull to be utilized for interior accommodations and the inconvenience of having to pass through the cabin in order to travel from bow to stern is outweighed by better interior accommodations. The aft deck measures slightly more than five feet deep by 10 feet wide and comfortably accommodates three deck chairs. There is a transom door for easy access to the swim deck and a ladder for access to the cabin top over the main saloon. This area can be used for lounging space or to store a dinghy; beginning in 2005, an optional flybridge helm was offered which is also accessed by ladder from the cockpit. The foredeck area is small but provides secure and easy access for handling ground tackle and dock lines.
Although there have been a few cosmetic and equipment changes over the years, basically two interior arrangement plans were offered - one with a large master suite forward and a second with two forward cabins. In both cases the main saloon and bridgedeck areas are identical.
The main saloon features a large L-shaped dinette to port and a starboard galley. The bridgedeck forward of the saloon has 40' wide seats to each side, a fully equipped helm to starboard and large navigation station to port. There are both port and starboard entrance doors for quick access to either side of the boat, an important feature often overlooked on boats of this style.
The single forward cabin arrangement has a center island berth, a very large head and shower to starboard, port and starboard hanging lockers and large vanity to port. The two-cabin layout has the same forward berth but a smaller head and offered original buyers the option of a second sleeping cabin, second head or small office to port. The same center island berth on either model is only 74' long and too short for most folks over six feet tall.
A six-cylinder Cummins marine diesel engine is standard on all Nordic Tug 37s. Early models were rated at 330 hp while the horsepower rating on later model engines was upped to 380. The engine room is beneath the bridgedeck and owners who do their own maintenance will find it a delight. Even with the standard auxiliary generator, there is 360-degree access to all machinery.
Lightly loaded, the Nordic Tug 37 has a top speed of bout 18 knots. Depending on load, she can cruise at 12 to 14 knots but to do so will consume 13 gallons of fuel per hour. At about 1,200 rpm she should make an honest 8 knots and consume a bit more than 3 gallons per hour.
Although a bit on the pricey side, the Nordic Tug 37 offers solid construction, live-aboard space and accommodations, economical operation and if necessary, speed to get out of the way of approaching bad weather. This would make an ideal coastal cruiser for a couple who doesn't entertain guests for more than a few days at a time.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.